Weight, or bulk density (G/M2) refers to the weight of fabric per square meter of fabric. The higher this number is the thicker the interior fabric is usually. The weight significantly affects the feel of the product, but it has no effect on the abrasion resistance of the fabric.
Abrasion resistance is another indicator of the durability of the interior fabric. The durability of the fabric is measured with different scratching or rubbing test devices. According to the European Standard, the abrasion resistance of textile is defined by the Martindale method. For fabrics with piles, the Stoll test is used and in the United States the Wyzeenbeck method is used.
The abrasion resistance depends both on the material of the fibers and on the bonding. The tests allow customers to compare different materials, but they do not give a prediction how long the product will last. In real life use of the fabric is usually subjected to a different stress than can be simulated in a test environment. Therefore, the use of abrasion resistance test values as a measure of durability of fabrics should be treated with caution. Double values for the Martindale test do not mean that the lifetime of the fabric doubles. The abrasion resistance of the fabric is also affected by the quality of the furniture itself, for example the shape and the filling used.
The Martindale method is designed to measure the abrasion resistance of woven and knitted fabrics without pile. The fabric to be examined in the test is attached to a circular substrate that is rubbed against a standard wool fabric in a rotating motion. The abrasion resistance result is the number of revolutions reached before two threads in the tested fabric are cut off.
Although the Martindale method is not intended to test fabrics with pile (velvet fabrics and non-woven fabrics such as Alcantara), it has become more commonly used to determine the abrasion resistance of these type of fabrics. The fact that two yarns are cut off when you test these fabrics does not necessarily define the wear resistance of the fabric. The result of the Martindale test should be the number of turns completed when critical changes occur in the fabric and the fabric breaks (the Martindale endpoint).
In practice the durability of interior fabrics can be divided into three categories:
basic requirement = at least 15,000 cycles
high requirement = at least 25,000 cycles
very high requirement = at least 50,000 cycles
Fire rating determines if the fabric is for example fire repellent or fire retardant.
EN 1021-1 or SL2 = Assessment of the ignitability of upholstered furniture. Fire safety classification required by the fabrics in the home environment, so-called cigarette test.
EN 1021-1+2 or SL1 = Assessment of the ignitability of upholstered furniture. Fire safety classification required by the fabrics for contract applications, so-called flame test.
According to the European standard, the EN classification is becoming more common while the SL classification decreases in use.
Pilling is the formation of fuzzy balls of fiber on the surface of an interior fabric that remain attached to the fabric.
In the regular usage of fabric, small fibers might rub against each other and form pilling on the surface of the fabric. This is common with fabrics made with natural fibers or looser structure. Pilling can also form when fibers from other textiles, such as clothes, cling to the fabric.
Removing possible pilling is a routine part of the maintenance of fabrics, but pilling can be prevented with regular upkeep. Vacuum the fabric gently using a textile nozzle, which will remove loose fibers from the surface of the fabric and therefore decrease the possibility of pilling. If possible, turn seat cushions over every once in a while, to distribute wear evenly. Pilling and loose fibers can also be removed with a lint remover.
We report how prone each fabric is to pill on a scale from 1 to 5. Our selection consists mainly of fabrics that have the pilling score of 4–5. The score is given after 2000 rounds of abrasion.
1–2 = substantial pilling
3 = slight pilling
4–5 = no pilling
Colour fastness means the fabric’s degree of resistance to the fading effect of light. Protect the fabric from direct sunlight. Although all of our fabrics are tested and we only select fabrics that have good lightfastness qualities, the sunlight can cause discoloration of fabrics over time. Especially cotton fabrics have the tendency to fade, while synthetic fibers will better withstand sunlight. Strong sunlight may also affect the stability of the pile. Reverse the back and seat padding of the furniture sometimes to even out the effect.
The colour lightfastness characteristics are graded on a gray scale of 1 to 5 or a blue scale 1 to 8 to determine the lightfastness of fabrics exceeding the value of 5 (gray scale). The test determines how much the colour changes under the influence of light. The results are compared to the blue scale consisting of eight fabrics that are coloured with blue shades of different brightness.
4 = basic requirement, good colour lightfastness
5-6 = Very good colour lightfastness
6-8 = Extremely good colour lightfastness (blue scale only) – suitable for special applications, see below.
Outdoors and in boats, as well as some public spaces, fabrics require a very high lightfastness (6-8 blue scale). Our collections contain special fabrics that meet these requirements.
Colour variations in fabrics between batches from different colour baths are inevitable for all textiles. Because of this the fabric colour may slightly differ from the colour map of the sample. Therefore, when upholstering you must ensure that all fabrics are from the same colour bath.
Shrinkage might happen when the interior fabric is washed. Fabric might shrink or stretch because of its properties. The mechanical change in the laundry, the detergent quality, the washing temperature and the drying method affect the final result. It is important to follow the washing instructions. In addition, the fabric should always be put in the right shape when drying after washing. This reduces the fabric’s shrinkage. The general practice is that less than 3% shrinkage is not specified for interior fabrics.